Sunday, October 31, 2010

Floyd on the farm

This is another photo from Elvis Brassfield's Brassfield-Hunt memories album. It is a photo of Floyd Gipson Brassfield and some chickens on the farm, most likely near Fairfax, South Dakota.

Floyd Gipson Brassfield (1898-1961) was the son of Nellie Belle (Bates) (1873-1940) and Elvis H. Brassfield (1970-1904).

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Elvis feeds a coyote chasing dog

This is another photo from Elvis John Brassfield's Brassfield-Hunt memories album. Captioned "Elvis and dog S.D. - dog chased coyotes" on the front side. On the reverse it says "Elvis Brassfield feeding dog who chased coyotes S.D. ranch."

The Brassfields lived near Fairfax, South Dakota in the early 1920s before moving to Cherokee, Iowa between April 1923 and June 1924. Other photos show chickens on the ranch, so it was probably necessary to have a dog to chase off predators.

In this post he was wearing the same hat.

Elvis John Brassfield (1920-2006) was the son of Thelma Sarah (Hunt) and Floyd Gipson Brassfield.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Artifact - Give blood

At right is an artifact that apparently belonged to Elvis John Brassfield. It is a 2 Gallon pin for blood donation that he received June 19, 1973.

Everyone has a personal reason for donating blood, whether it is a civic duty, or the just right thing to do. I don't know what his reason was on that day in 1973, but everyone's reason is unique.

Here's a link to an 86 year old that reached the 40 gallon mark. That's pretty impressive. You can go to for more information on donating blood.

Today, I passed the one gallon mark by providing a double red cell donation. That's 2 units of only the red blood cells. It takes a little longer each time, but you only need to donate half as often since it is 112 days between donations. At my age, 1 gallon is not very impressive, but I took quite a long break.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Nellie Belle Evers with the family

Here is another photo from Elvis Brassfield's Brassfield-Hunt memories album. It is captioned, "Grandma, Clarence, Floyd, Jennie, Elvis, Thelma."

Grandma is Nellie Belle Evers, she married Ben Evers after Elvis H. Brassfield died. Her two sons Clarence and Floyd Brassfield are standing next to her. A third son, Adrian, died a few years before this photo was taken. Jennie (Martinson) is in the front row at left. Clarence married Jennie in 1924. In the front row on the right is Thelma Sarah (Hunt), wife of Floyd with her son Elvis John Brassfield. Elvis was born in November 1920, so that dates this photo to 1922 or so.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Irene Brassfield

The original caption is "1925 - Irene - Cherokee." It is Irene Shirley Brassfield (1824-2010), daughter of Floyd and Thelma (Hunt) Brassfield when the family lived in Cherokee, Iowa.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Floyd and Thelma Brassfield on horseback

This one is another from Elvis John Brassfield's Brassfield-Hunt memories album. The caption on the reverse side is "Floyd and Thelma on S.D ranch riding the range." This would be early 1920s vintage when Floyd Gipson Brassfield and his wife Thelma Sarah (Hunt) lived near Fairfax, South Dakota.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Floyd and Elvis Brassfield in 1922

This is another photo from Elvis Brassfield's Brassfield-Hunt memories album. it is captioned "1922." Based on other photos, it appears to be Floyd Gipson Brassfield and his son Elvis John Brassfield. This is probably in the Fairfax, South Dakota area.

Elvis John Brassfield (1920-2006) was the son of Thelma Sarah (Hunt) and Floyd Gipson Brassfield.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Stotler glass plate negative

This is an attempt at scanning a dry glass plate negative with my flatbed scanner then reversing the image and tweaking it with photo editing software.

I am not 100% certain who this image depicts. The box is labeled "Stotler" and there are no dates on it. My assumption is that it is a photo of Hiram Stotler (1838-1920). I have another photo labeled Hiram Stotler, but it is a much older man, so I'm not sure if they are the same men. I'll update this post in the future if find a name in one of the boxes of photos that I haven't searched yet.

Update: I found this same picture in a photo album labeled John Henry Stotler on the reverse, but George Henry Stotler underneath it. A similar picture is labeled Henry Stotler. The 1870 and 1880 Census both list George Stotler as the oldest son. Whatever the correct name is, it is clear that this is a brother of Mary H. (Stotler) Ross.

There is a second box of glass plates with 3 plates also labeled Stotler. One image is of a large tombstone labeled Stotler with the "Woodmen of the World" logo on it. The logo also says "Dum Tacet Clamat" which apparently means, "Though Silent He Speaks." The second image is the same tombstone with a woman standing next to it. The third image looks like men standing in a river or lake, possibly an immersion baptism?

Update: I found the same photo in an album labeled Aunt Emma at Henry's grave - 1902 Crown Hill cemetery - Indianapolis, IN. So it would appear that Emma was the wife of George Henry Stotler.

The Stotler connection to the Brassfield surname is Hiram Stotler (1838-1920), father of Mary Hay Stotler (1864-1959) (married John Franklin Ross (1859-1934)), mother of Clara Bernice Ross (1897-1994) (married Frank Brown Fowlie (1892-1977)). Frank and Clara's daughter married Elvis John Brassfield (1920-2006).

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Census Saturday - Hiram Stotler

Today I conducted a search of census records via HeritageQuest online. I was looking for details on Hiram Stotler born in Pennsylvania 3 August 1838 and died in Rockwell City, Calhoun, Iowa 10 June 1920. His picture is to the right, it had been kept safe in a frame by his great granddaughter for many years and it found its way onto my flatbed scanner this afternoon for your viewing enjoyment.

Wisconsin residents, or at least ones that have IP addresses based in Wisconsin, can access a variety of research materials via HeritageQuest and Access NewspaperARCHIVE are good tools to use without leaving home, but they take some time to get used to and require some tricks to find information.

In searching for Hiram Stotler, I ran across a common problem when searching census records. The problem is spelling. His last name is listed by the search engine as Stotley in 1870, Statler in 1880, Stoller in 1900, Stotter in 1910 and Stouller in 1920. Fortunately his first name Hiram was spelled the same allowing for a search by birthplace, age and first name. 1920 took the longest to find because both names were misspelled, Hyram Stouller. I did a Calhoun County Iowa search for persons born in Pennsylvania between the ages of 81 and 90 and that revealed the name I was looking for. I was also briefly stumped by the 1860 census, but careful detective work found him living in Piatt County, Illinois near his future wife, Hannah Argo.

The Stotler connection to the Brassfield surname is Hiram Stotler (1838-1920), father of Mary Hay Stotler (1864-1959) (married John Franklin Ross (1859-1934)), mother of Clara Bernice Ross (1897-1994) (married Frank Brown Fowlie (1892-1977)). Frank and Clara's daughter married Elvis John Brassfield (1920-2006).

After the jump I have posted a summary of the census info relating to Hiram Stotler...

The family with the car

This one is only captioned with "1923." It is another from the Brassfield-Hunt memories album. It shows what I assume to be the family car with Thelma Sarah (Hunt) holding most likely Betty Brassfield. Elvis John Brassfield is standing on the running board and Floyd Gipson Brassfield is on the right.

Betty Brassfield at Cherokee, 1924

Here's another photo from Elvis Brassfield's Brassfield-Hunt memories album. It is captioned "Betty @ Cherokee 1924." I think the Floyd Brassfield family lived in Cherokee after leaving the Fairfax, SD area and before moving to Lake City, IA. Floyd's mother Nellie also lived in Cherokee with her husband Ben Evers.

The wagon is a Heider Coaster. These apparently were made by the Heider Manufacturing Company in Carrol, Iowa.

Betty was the daughter of Thelma Sarah (Hunt) and Floyd Gipson Brassfield. Betty Lucille Brassfield (Benckendorf) (1923-2003) was their oldest daughter, born April 18, 1923 in Fairfax, South Dakota. She died June 10, 2003 in Salem, Oregon.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Elvis John Brassfield, 1924

This one is captioned "1924 - 4 years" and is from the Brassfield-Hunt memories album. Check out the car in the background. Looks like a nice street to live on, too.

Elvis John Brassfield (1920-2006) was the son of Thelma Sarah (Hunt) and Floyd Gipson Brassfield.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Silver Star - Frank Brassfield

Silver Star medal
I spent a number of hours researching this one, but finally hit pay-dirt with a news article from The Waukesha Freeman. Here's what I found:

Frank B. Brassfield (1898-1987) was born October 21, 1898 in Indiana to Sylvine (Davis) (1862-1903?) and Preston Brassfield (1850-1911). According to the Waukesha Freeman article, Frank grew up in the Metropolitan Church association (MCA) orphanage in Waukesha, Wisconsin with three sisters Alice, Gail and Elsie following his mother's death around 1903. (Alice appears to have been a half-sister, having a different mother than Frank) The MCA was apparently pacifist and some used membership in that church to avoid being drafted into World War I.(1) The MCA apparently had ties to the Free Methodist Church. Despite this upbringing, Frank enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. After the US entered World War I, Brassfield was a Bugler for part of his service in France. According to the Freeman, he became bored with the job and worked on machine guns instead.

Frank was awarded two Silver Star medals during World War I for valor in combat while serving in the Marines 6th Regiment. The Silver Star is the third highest medal in the US Military awarded for valor, behind the Navy Cross and the Medal of Honor. At the time, the Silver Star was a newly created award.

On October 9, 1918, Brassfield was fighting in the Champagne sector in the Battle of Blanc Mont. For his bravery under fire during the battle, he was awarded the Silver Star. According to the citation, he was "bringing up machine gun ammunition through the enemy barrage."
Photo Croix de guerre recto

The Waukesha Freeman article from February 1919 says that France also awarded him the Croix de Guerre (Cross of War) medal. The article describes his actions as
"Although exhausted, he volunteered to carry ammunition from the front line to an advanced post under violent artillery fire, thus permitting the machine gun to continue its action."
In a letter to his sister, reprinted in the Freeman article Brassfield says that it was awarded for action at Chateau Thierry which was in July 1918. However the citation is nearly identical to the Silver Star citation from Blanc Mont and the Clark book says he received a "SS CdG-P" at Blanc Mont. SS for Silver Star and CdG-P for Croix de Guerre. Whatever the case, he certainly served heroically under fire. According to the Freeman, the legendary Marine Major General John A. Lejeune personally pinned the Croix de Guerre on Brassfield during a ceremony in November 1918.

According to Decorated marines of the Fourth Brigade in World War I by George B. Clark p 123, Brassfield also received a Silver Star for actions in the Battle of Belleau Wood in June 1918. I have not been able to locate a citation for that Silver Star medal.

I'm not too clear on any of the details beyond that, but it appears that he died in January 1987. According to the Social Security death index, he last resided in Staunton, Macoupin County, Illinois not far from St. Louis, Missouri.

Using the relationship calculator, Frank Brassfield was a 3rd Cousin of Elvis H. Brassfield (Father of Floyd Gipson Brassfield). They are connected by John Brassfield, born 1735 in North Carolina.

Grandma Nellie with grandkids

Here's another one from Elvis's Brassfield-Hunt memories photo album. It is captioned left to right "Betty, Grandma, Irene, Elvis." Nellie Belle (Bates) Brassfield-Evers is Grandma in the photo.

As I mentioned before, Her husband Elvis H. Brassfield died in 1904, she then married Ben Evers around 1915 and was with him until her death in 1940. They lived in Cherokee, Iowa and I think that's where this photo was taken. Irene was born in June 1924, so the photo appears to be from summer of 1924.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Elvis John Brassfield

This is a photo of Elvis John Brassfield from his Brassfield-Hunt memories album. Early 1920s, no caption.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Ross Graves at Mackey Cemetery

This photo is from my last trip to Mackey Cemetery, Piatt County, Illinois in June 2007.

Left is the tombstone of William Ross (1856-1869), next is Rebecca Ross (1861-1862) and the third from left is Henry Ross (1828-1863). William and Rebecca were Henry Ross's children. All three were previously featured here on a previous Tombstone Tuesday.

As I mentioned before, I have been discussing Brassfields, but there is no direct genetic link for these Ross's to Floyd Gipson Brassfield. The connection is by the marriage of Henry Ross's great grand daughter to a Brassfield.

Henry Ross (1828-1863) was the father of John Franklin Ross (1859-1943), father of Clara Bernice Ross (1897-1994). Clara's daughter married Elvis J. Brassfield and that's the connection.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Navy Cross - Arthur James Brassfield

Arthur James Brassfield (1910-1976) was born September 21, 1910 to Sarah F. (Hoselton) and Parson Abner Brassfield (1880-1945) in Browning, Missouri.

According to the book, Miracle at Midway, Brassfield was a high school teacher in Missouri. During World War II, Brassfield was an Ace fighter pilot in the Pacific flying an F4F Wildcat.

During the Battle of the Coral Sea, Brassfield received the Navy Cross, the Navy's second highest award behind the Medal of Honor, for downing two enemy aircraft. He received a second Navy Cross for downing four dive bombers during the Battle of Midway. He was attached to USS Yorktown (CV-10). These engagements are documented in the book The First Team: Pacific Naval Air Combat from Pearl Harbor to Midway By John B. Lundstrom. He retired from the Navy at the rank of Captain in July 1969.

Arthur Brassfield died January 21, 1976 and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery with his wife Loraine C. (Glaze).

How does this connect with my normal subject matter? Thanks to the relationship calculator at we can easily see that Arthur was the 6th cousin of Floyd Gipson Brassfield. They are connected by Thomas Brasfield who was born in 1656 in Beaulieu, Hampshire, England. It's pretty amazing that a distant connection like that can be made via the Internet.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

FOIA request - Harry Brassfield

I mentioned Harry Brassfield in an earlier post in August. I submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to see if I could get some additional information. I received a reply and a single page of information Which I have transcribed after the jump.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Mary and Mother Ross

This one is from Clara (Ross) Fowlie's photo album. It was captioned "Mary and Mother Ross" and is not dated.

On the left is Clara's sister Mary Ada Ross (later Gillespie) (1894-1987). On the right is Clara's mother Mary Hay (Stotler) Ross (1864 - 1959).

Clara (Ross) Fowlie is connected to Floyd Gipson Brassfield by the marriage of her daughter to Elvis John Brassfield.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Lake City Farm House

This photo is captioned, "Place south of Lake City, 1945" it was Elvis John Brassfield's family home after World War II. It is located in section 20 of Jackson Township, Calhoun County, Iowa. 

Update:I've been told this was not the house I thought it was. It was one of the the homes Elvis J. Brassfield grew up in. The caption simply says "Place south of Lake City, 1945" so I don't know what the location is.

Update 2: I found the photo in another album captioned "Owen's" place 11 mi E 1 1/2 mi S. Lake City, Iowa. Lived here from Oct 1945 to Feb 1947.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A photo of Nellie Belle Evers

This photo is captioned "Grandma" and is from one of Elvis John Brassfield's photo albums. It appears to be Nellie Belle (Bates) Brassfield around the 1910s, she was born in 1873, if you would like to estimate a date based on her appearance. She was Elvis's grandmother, the mother of his father Floyd Gipson Brassfield. Following her husband's death, she remarried and took the last name of her husband, Ben Evers.

See this post for more details about Nellie.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Floyd, Nellie and Clarence

Floyd, Nellie Belle and Clarence Brassfield
This is another photo from Elvis John Brassfield's photo album. It is captioned, Floyd, Grandma and Clarence.

Floyd Gipson Brassfield was Elvis John Brassfield's Father. Floyd and Clarence were the sons of Nellie Belle (Bates) Brassfield (later Evers). I can only estimate that this photo was taken in the 1910s, Floyd was born in 1898, Nellie in 1873 and Clarence in 1895. The third brother Adrian died in 1919, so perhaps he is not in the photo because it was after his death.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Elvis John Brassfield

This is a photo of the reverse side of the tombstone of Elvis John Brassfield, located at Union Cemetery, Jefferson, Jefferson County, Wisconsin. Since his wife is still living, I will respect her privacy by not posting the front of the tombstone with her details on it.

Elvis John Brassfield (1920-2006) was the son of Thelma Sarah (Hunt) and Floyd Gipson Brassfield.

I've been working on some details about his service during World War II, so I thought it might be appropriate to put some of that information with this post. According to his separation record, Elvis accrued 8 months, 24 days of foreign service during World War II. He participated in the following battles and campaigns: Southern France; Ardennes; Central Europe; Rhineland. He also flew on 35 combat missions while in the European theater.

Elvis enlisted August 29, 1942 and entered active service February 25, 1943 at Des Moines, Iowa. His military occupation specialty is listed as 612, Airplane Armorer-Gunner. He served in this capacity on B-24 Liberator aircraft, I have been told one aircraft was named "Asbestos Alice" and another was named "Patches." While deployed to Europe, he was part of the 700th Bomb Squadron of the 445th Bombardment Group in the 8th Air Force.

One interesting item about his war service was a mission that he fortunately missed. Elvis was slated to fly September 27, 1944 to bomb the Henschel Aircraft Plant in Kassel, Germany, but a twist of fate kept him on the ground. It would have been his 4th mission, but instead Elvis and the rest of the crew if the aircraft he was on were taken off the flight plan and spent the day in London instead.

The mission they missed is now infamous for being one of history's deadliest air battles and the worst combat losses that the 445th Bombardment Group suffered during the war. According to the Kassel Mission Historical Society, 35 B-24's from his squadron left England, but only 4 returned to base. 20 B-24's were lost in 3 minutes in a clash with German fighters. Each B-24 carried around 9 men that were either killed or wounded and captured after escaping from their damaged aircraft. Elvis was very fortunate to have missed the mission.

Monday, October 11, 2010

John Hunt with nurses

John Hunt (center) and his daughter, Thelma Sarah Hunt (right)
This photo is from the Brassfield - Hunt memories photo album. it is captioned "? - John Hunt - Thelma Sarah Hunt 1918-1919." This photo was probably taken in Nebraska and may relate to the 1918 flu pandemic. I am not certain what Thelma Sarah Hunt's schooling was, but she would have been around age 20 at the time of the photo. I do not know who the person on the left is.

Thelma Sarah Hunt (1898-1976) was the daughter of Jennie (Johnson) (1878-1914) and John Hunt (1869-1965). Thelma married Floyd Gipson Brassfield and was the mother of five, including Elvis, Betty and Irene as mentioned elsewhere on this blog.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A photo of Elvis J. Brassfield from 1921

Here is another photo from Elvis John Brassfield's photo album. It is captioned "1921". I think they were living in South Dakota at this time. Maybe he's taking a bath in the bucket?

Elvis John Brassfield (1920-2006) was the son of Thelma Sarah (Hunt) and Floyd Gipson Brassfield.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Elvis on the farm with some chickens

This is a photo of Elvis John Brassfield, it is on a page in his photo album labeled "Me" but has no date or other caption. He was born in 1920 and I'm not the best at guessing ages. I can't help but notice that the coveralls seem to fit, except the pant legs are too long for him.

Elvis John Brassfield (1920-2006) was the son of Thelma Sarah (Hunt) and Floyd Gipson Brassfield.

Click the Elvis John Brassfield label for more posts about Elvis.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Betty Brassfield

Here's another photo from Elvis Brassfield's photo album. It is captioned "Betty." She was born in 1923, so I'll leave it up to the reader to estimate the date.

For some reason I thought of the Chicken Dance when I saw this photo.I wonder what she was really doing in this photo.

Betty was the daughter of Thelma Sarah (Hunt) and Floyd Gipson Brassfield. Betty Lucille Brassfield (Benckendorf) (1923-2003) was their oldest daughter, born April 18, 1923 in Fairfax, South Dakota. She died June 10, 2003 in Salem, Oregon.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thelma and Elvis

Here is another image of Thelma Sarah (Hunt) Brassfield with her son Elvis John Brassfield. The picture is captioned June 1921. Elvis was born in November 1920. It was probably taken in south eastern, South Dakota. Thelma was the wife of Floyd Gipson Brassfield.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Irene and Elvis

Irene and Elvis Brassfield
Another one from the photo album of Elvis John Brassfield. This photo was captioned "Irene and Me." It is undated, but Irene Shirley Brassfield was born in June 1924, Elvis in November 1920. They are the children of Thelma (Hunt) and Floyd Gipson Brassfield. As usual, the photo can be clicked to enlarge.

Update, I found this same photo in another album. It was dated 1925 and is in Cherokee, Iowa, I believe at the home of Ben Evers. Elvis's grandmother Nellie married Ben Evers in the 1910s and they lived in Cherokee.